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A Snapshot of DACA Recipients 11 Years Later

Jun 15, 2023

DACA student

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program celebrated its 11-year anniversary on Thursday, but the policy continues to face an uncertain future.

Since President Obama created the program in 2012, DACA recipients have transitioned from being primarily high school and college students to building careers and starting families.

Roughly 580,000 individuals are DACA recipients, according to a new report from pro-immigration group While the majority of DACA recipients (81%) were born in Mexico, they reside in communities throughout the United States. The largest concentration of DACA recipients (28%) is found in California, followed by Texas (17%). The remaining recipients are distributed across all states in the country.

The first cohort of DACA recipients has made significant contributions to the U.S. economy. They have experienced a sevenfold increase in median income since 2012 and have contributed $108 billion to the economy, along with $33 billion in combined taxes.

Many have achieved educational milestones, with 99% graduating from high school and 48% attaining some college education. The majority of DACA recipients participate in the labor force, contributing an estimated $13.3 billion annually, and work in industries facing labor shortages such as healthcare, business services, and education. Additionally, a significant portion of DACA recipients are married (39%) and have children (48%).

According to, most DACA recipients have only known the United States as their home. They live in mixed-status families, with 84% having at least one household member who is not a DACA recipient or an undocumented individual. Approximately 1.1 million U.S. citizens live in households with DACA recipients, and an estimated 100,000 DACA recipients are married to U.S. citizens.

Despite the immense benefits brought forth by DACA, its recipients continue to face an uphill battle in their pursuit of stability and security. The policy’s future remains uncertain, underscoring the need for comprehensive immigration reform to provide a more lasting solution and ensure a fair and inclusive pathway for undocumented individuals who arrived in the country as children.

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